Only one episode into TNT's new Cold Justice, I'm already a fan of the show. It's hard to say if I would be as enthusiastic if former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler was not part of this show - after all, Cold Justice looks a lot like Dateline's Unsolved Case Squad. Dateline's Unsolved Case Squad featured a similar pairing of a former prosecutor (Los Angeles prosecutor Alan Jackson) with Yolanda McClary and retired homicide detective Dwayne Stanton and had them review cold case files in the hopes of uncovering new leads on old cases.
I watch Dateline regularly, and I watched a few episodes that featured the Unsolved Case Squad. I believe that although Cold Justice has the same premise as the earlier Dateline series, what's different with this show is there is better chemistry between the former prosecutor (Siegler), the former CSI (Yolanda McClary) and former detective (Johnny Bonds). Siegler and McClary seem to have some early success in their ability to bring justice to these victims. Perhaps the success is in part due to the case selection, I'm not sure after watching one episode but this show seems different to me than the earlier Dateline format. I hope the series continues.
I admire Kelly Siegler's story. She has a phenomenal record as a prosecutor. From 1986 to 2008, she had a perfect record prosecuting murder cases. She never lost one, making her one of the most feared prosecutors in the state of Texas. But Sieger's seemingly humble beginnings and what she made of herself is what I admire the most. She grew up in Blessing, TX - a small town in Matagorda County in Texas with a population of 927 (as of 2010). Her father owns a barber shop in town, and her late mother managed several local restaurants. Siegler graduated from Tidehaven High School in 1981, received a degree in International Business from University of Texas in Austin in 1984, and received her law degree in 1987 from the South Texas College of Law. Siegler went on to prosecute high profile cases such as Texas v. Robert Fratta and Texas v. Susan Wright - both stories have been covered extensively in the media and on various crime shows.
Not bad for a woman who grew up in a county where the median household income is $17,181 (2011), (these figures were obtained on zillow.com). While I don't know anything else about Sieger's family other than her mother and father's occupations, it would seem Siegler has worked her way to where she is today. I always admire the self-made Kelly Siegers of the world. That's part of the reason I'm rooting for Cold Justice. Who doesn't like the idea of getting justice for victims of long forgotten murders?
Whether TNT and Dick Wolf got the idea for Cold Justice from Dateline's less successful Unsolved Case Squad or not - if they can tweak the format and make it work, good for them. Episode 2 airs tonight and features the 2006 murder of Mattie Williams, a 67 year old woman found stabbed and bludgeoned to death just 3 miles from her home. Arrests have been made in that case. I know I'll be watching to see how Siegler, McClary and Bonds helped.